If there’s one woman that has mastered the art of planning a Women’s Dive Day event, it’s Susan Copelas, PADI Master Diver Trainer Instructor at Dive World Adventures.
Each year, her events with Celebrate Women Divers, located in Massachusetts, continue to grow with almost 200 people in attendance and seven locations, worldwide.
And from last year’s turnout, her team knows what they’re doing. Women’s Dive Day 2018 marked one of the largest gatherings in the world with $75,250 in proceeds awarded to 59 women for the Scholarship and Grant Program for the Women Divers Hall of Fame (WDHOF), a program that offers everything from basic scuba diving classes to archeology and DAN dive medic courses. Thanks to Copelas’s efforts, over the past two years, her team has contributed $12,000 to WDHOF.
For those wondering how she does it, Copelas suggests starting with two simple questions:
- What type of event do you want to have?
“Hosting a Women Divers Day can be anything from an all women’s dive boat wearing matching store t-shirts to a larger event at multiple locations.”
- What do you want to accomplish?
“Is it all about women empowerment, or would you like to expand it to supporting a cause?” she asks. “I chose the Women Divers Hall of Scholarship and Grant Program because it embraces women divers, it embraces their passion for the ocean on many levels, and it helps train the next generation of divers to give back and help our planet in a variety of ways.”
After that, it’s all about planning and preparing.
- Include assistants or have a committee structure, so there is a broad network.
- Utilize all components of social media.
- Start early and be passionate about what you are doing. It builds excitement.
- Make it inviting for all levels of divers.
- Keep it unique. Change it up every year.
- Offer a variety of giveaways and raffle items.
- Partner with a cause. Allow the event to give back and be part of something big.
- Set short-term and long-term goals for the event.
- Create Women Divers Day business cards with your name and a separate email to show you are organizing it for a cause and not the benefit of a dive shop.
To ensure a good turnout, Copelas stresses the importance of social media.
“The biggest challenge for me was my self-confidence that after all the committee’s hard work no one would show up,” she says. “Then, the filled buses started arriving from dive communities farther away, and I knew that the unknowns of social media component worked.”
Building credibility among the dive community is another one of her strongest pieces of advice.
“If you get the support of local dive shops, coupled with their dive manufacturers, etc. and advertise your sponsors over and over again, then people see legitimate ‘names’ are on board, and the event takes more of a form,” she advises. “You start having people call asking why you haven’t asked them to sponsor yet.”
And that credibility continues to grow. This year’s events are even more involved with a working list of partnerships that include Reef.org; One Love One Ocean, recently featured on Chronicle; Captain Breezy Grenier part of the Exxpedition Round the World; Evelyn Dudas, the first woman to dive the Andrea Doria; and Faith Ortins from WDHOF and co-founder of Blue/Green Expeditions. They will also feature a series of raffles totaling around $8,500 that includes a Dive in the New England Aquarium Giant tank, a dive trip to Atlantis Resort in the Philippines, a trip to True Blue Resort in Grenada, a Legend LX regulator donated from Under Sea Divers; and the Soul i3 BCD donated by East Coast Divers.
With all of their successes, Copelas and her team’s primary goal is to leave an impact on the next generation of divers.
“I love this quote by Gerry Burnie: ‘We talk so much about leaving a better planet to our kids, what about leaving better kids to our planet?’” she says. “Helping contribute to an organization like Women Divers Hall of Fame Scholarship and Grant Program does just that. I just wish there were more funds available to give to all the worthy applicants and their causes.”
If more people follow Copelas business model, those funds might just come to fruition.
Interested in planning your own Women’s Dive Day event? Ask Copelas for advice at email@example.com.
For more on plans for Women’s Dive Day 2019 with Celebrate Women Divers, check out their WomenDiversDay Facebook page.
Don’t miss out! Register your event today.